Soldier of the Year

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Pocket Books, 1994 - Gay men - 321 pages
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"As a boy growing up in Indiana and Texas, Joe Zuniga originally wanted to be a priest - the Zunigas were devout Catholics. But his family had a strong military tradition, and Joe's Mexican-American father considered military service to be the one fittingly masculine profession for his only son. Joe was offered a congressional appointment to West Point, but declined it to stay near home when his mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Arriving at boot camp in Fort Bliss, Texas, in 1989, Joe began a military career that took off at an astounding pace. During Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm he excelled as both a journalist and a combat medic, earning decorations in both capacities, and rose rapidly to the rank of sergeant. After the war, Joe married to avoid questions about his personal life, and landed a plum assignment as editor of the newspaper at the Presidio of San Francisco, where he won both Journalist of the Year and Soldier of the Year. Joe appeared to be on a fast track to the Pentagon, his future in the military assured. Then he tired of living a lie." "Picking up where Randy Shilts' Conduct Unbecoming leaves off, Soldier of the Year is an intensely candid account of the homophobia and hypocrisy that pervade the American military - and much of American society. While in the Army, Joe was horrified to discover the gestapo-like treatment of gays in the military, but was heartened by President Clinton's early pledges to open the ranks of the armed forces to all men and women, gay or straight. Joe felt that by very publicly coming out of the closet he could help make a difference. He could not have imagined the byzantine punishments the Army had in store for him - nor Clinton's political retreat that resulted in the infamous "don't ask, don't tell, don't pursue" policy. The Soldier of the Year was discharged." "Honest and unflinching, Soldier of the Year is a powerful report from the front lines of a heated controversy that shows no signs of abating. It is the autobiography of a young man who cast aside what his family and society expected him to be for the sake of freedom and love, and for the opportunity to forge his identity on his own terms. In his courageous struggle to become himself, Joe Zuniga gives hope to us all."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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Soldier of the year

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Sixth Army Soldier of the Year for 1992, Zuniga was discharged from the U.S. Army after coming out as a gay man at the 1993 March on Washington for gay and lesbian rights. A journalist before and ... Read full review

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